|“||From the start, this story has been about a town, and the people who lived in that town, and the darkness that lived in some of those people. Clifford Blossom. The Black Hood, the Gargoyle King, the Stonies. Add to their ranks, my sister, Jellybean, who had been the Voyeur/Auteur, making the videotapes that have been disturbing our town for months.||”|
STAY INNOCENT — With Graduation Day around the corner, the gang consider their next steps beyond Riverdale High. Archie learns whether he will be able to graduate with his classmates. FP makes a difficult decision about his and Jellybean’s future.
Jughead has collected all of Jellybean’s auteur masks that were crafted in the likeness of him and his friends. He blames himself for what has happened to Jellybean despite Betty insisting that it’s not his fault. Jughead recalls how it was him who convinced her to return to Riverdale only to ignore her soon thereafter. Betty reminds Jughead that he was fighting for his life at Stonewall Prep and that there was nothing he could’ve done.
Alice proposes that they seek counseling for Jellybean. However, FP intends to take her back to Toledo, where he can properly tend to Jellybean alongside Gladys. Alice questions what this means for her relationship with FP and asks if they can discuss it further.
After learning from Jellybean where her accomplices are hiding out, Jughead and FP grab Archie and Tom before heading over to the Pembrooke and strong-arming Hiram into reinstating Tom as sheriff. With Tom reinstated, Jughead, FP, Archie, and Sheriff Keller head over to the community center, where they find Jellybean’s friends sleeping under the boxing ring.
Jughead returns home to Betty and shares with her his startling realization; they survived the death of Jason Blossom, the Black Hood and Gargoyle King, but he never considered how the fall out of all this would affect the generations to come, Jellybean included. He worries that they are doomed to be haunted by Riverdale for the rest of their lives.
Archie has a dream of him and his friends at graduation. His dad is there. Fred mentions that he never thought he would be alive to see the day. Archie awakens from his sleep and heads downstairs to find his mother preparing his graduation gown despite the fact that they still don’t know for certain that Archie is graduating. However, Mary believes that he will.
While doing her makeup, Cheryl recalls the back to school semi-formal sophomore year, where she dedicated the Pussycats’ performance in Jason’s honor. She then grabs her spider brooch and pins it to her sweater.
Hiram and Hermione gift Veronica a brand new pearl necklace. It has been a long time since Veronica has worn a set for her father. He hopes that she will accommodate him and wear them during her last day of school. Veronica agrees and returns to her room, caressing her necklace as she looks in the mirror, during which time she recalls her first day at Riverdale High shortly after her father's arrest. Suddenly, Veronica no longer seeks to wear the necklace and puts it away.
In her mind, Alice already had thanksgiving break planned out. Betty would come home off the train from Yale, and everyone would be home to celebrate. Now, Alice fears that it’ll just be her alone given the fact that FP is gone with Jellybean and Jughead is headed off to Iowa. Betty assures her mother that no matter what, she’ll always be there when she needs her.
The senior class gathers in the student lounge, where Mr. Weatherbee explains that 75 years ago the first senior class of Riverdale High buried a time capsule just before graduation. And now, as they prepare for their own graduation, it’s time to open said capsule from 75 years ago. Cheryl and Toni spearhead the opening ceremony. They discover a copy of the Riverdale Register from June 12, 1945. They also find a copy of the Blue and Gold from the same year. Cheryl then pulls out a Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe menu from when hamburgers only cost 15 cents. Toni then uncovers a baseball card of Ambrose "The Rocket" Pipps, Riverdale’s hometown hero. Lastly, they find a Red Circle comic book and a photo of four seniors the day before the boys headed off for war.
Long after the ceremony, the gang remains in the student lounge, where they discuss their final day at Riverdale High. Kevin believes this will be the last time that they gather as a group to hang in the student lounge. Jughead and Toni retort that they’ll reunite for homecoming and reunions. However, Reggie remarks that it won’t be the same. Betty and Veronica then arrive with the yearbooks. Cheryl expresses her appreciation for Jason’s memoriam page in the yearbook. Sweet Pea also points out that there’s even an entire page dedicated to the Serpents. Much like Sweet Pea and Cheryl, Kevin is pleased to see that something close to him made its way into the yearbook as well: the musicals. Archie and Jughead are then called into the principal’s office.
Jughead exits Weatherbee’s office and informs Archie that he’s graduating. Ms. Bell then calls Archie into the office, where Weatherbee informs Archie that despite his efforts, he won’t be graduating with his friends. Not even summer school will save him. He’ll have to repeat his senior year. Weatherbee assures Archie that no one will hold this year against him and agrees to allow Archie to walk the stage with his friends. Lastly, Weatherbee asks Archie to record the graduation song. Archie exits the principal’s office and lies to Jughead, claiming that he simply needs to attend summer school and that he’ll have his diploma by June.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Cheryl, Toni, Kevin, Fangs, Sweet Pea and Reggie stare down the ticking clock as the hand strikes 3:00 and the bell sounds on their final day at Riverdale High. After class, Archie approaches the table housing the items from within the 1945 time capsule. The photo of the four soldiers headed off to war is what draws his attention, which doesn’t go unnoticed by Veronica.
While playing with Jellybean, Jughead asks for a sneak peek of Betty’s valedictorian speech, however, she’s having trouble putting pen to paper. He assures her that she'll figure it out.
Veronica heads over to Archie’s to return his stuff that he left over at her place. Also, despite their breakup, she wanted to spend their final night as seniors with Archie. She drops his box of belongings on the ground and heads inside, where the two proceed to kiss. The following morning, Archie and Veronica lay in bed. She reveals that she saw him looking at the picture from the time capsule and wonders why. She fears that he plans to sign up for war. However, Archie assures Veronica that the only place he’s going is summer school.
Jughead offers to join FP and Jellybean in Toledo after graduation, but FP refuses to allow him to miss out on college considering that he’s the first Jones man to attend.
Sweet Pea and Fangs accompany Toni as she shows Nana Topaz around school. She remarks that Toni’s current locker is in better condition than the one she had at Southside High. She also notes that Toni has yet to clean out her locker. Toni claims that she’ll clean it out over the weekend. Its simply been difficult as her locker holds a lot of memories of the people closest to her, including Cheryl, who watches from afar before turning away, as Nana Topaz tells Toni that she’s proud of her and the manner in which she has honored the Topaz name.
Archie watches as all his friends are surrounded by their family; FP, Alice, and Jellybean greet Betty and Jughead in the student lounge while Veronica shows her parents the yearbook, and Kevin and Fangs take photos with Tom. Being here without his family clearly troubles Archie. Fortunately, Mary arrives and asks if he’s okay. Archie admits that he misses his father and wishes that he was with them. Mary assures Archie that he is.
Betty gets on stage to give her valedictorian speech. She talks about their years at Riverdale High, which was co-opted with heartache, drama, and death. It’s not fair that their classmates aren’t there to walk with them, nor is it right that some of their parents are there to watch those of them who are graduating. Betty adds that those younger than her don’t know of any Riverdale other than that steeped in violence. However, their class is old enough to remember a time before the era of tragedy, when it was just a small, boring town. That’s the town she wants to remember Riverdale as.
Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Cheryl, Toni, Sweet Pea, Fangs, Kevin, Reggie, and lastly Archie take the stage to receive their diploma, though Archie isn’t actually graduating. He momentarily hallucinates seeing the four seniors from the time capsules picture just before they left for war. They applaud the graduates before exiting the auditorium.
Penelope calls out to Cheryl while hidden within the trees in the school’s parking lot. She reveals that she didn’t want to miss Cheryl’s graduation and saw her take the stage while hidden in the back of the auditorium. Penelope also reveals that with Cheryl now being a grown woman, she’ll be turning herself into the authorities to pay for some of her crimes. Hiram has promised to take proper care of her in his jail. And with good behavior, she may even be out in time to see Cheryl graduate from Highsmith. However, Cheryl is no longer sure that she wishes to attend.
FP and Jellybean prepare to leave for Toledo. FP hugs Jughead one last time and tells him that going to college is good for the Jones family. Before parting ways, FP says goodbye to Alice. She asks if this is the end of their story, to which FP replies that he hopes not. However, for the time being, he has to leave. Alice understands what he’s sacrificing and why he has to do it, telling FP that she loves him before he takes off on his bike with Jellybean and the Serpents.
Veronica asks Pop Tate for a clean menu. He hands it over and comments that as long as he’s been around, it’s never easy seeing them head off for college. Veronica then informs Pop Tate that she’s signing full ownership of the diner over to him. Pop Tate is overjoyed and thanks her for her generosity. When Veronica first came to Riverdale, she never imagined that she would call it home, but then she came to Pop’s and that’s exactly what it became.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica, Kevin, Reggie, Toni, and Cheryl gather at Riverdale High to bury their very own time capsule. Betty has brought her last editions from the Register and the Blue and Gold, as well as a bobby-pin. Reggie throws in a football, whereas Veronica has a Pop’s menu and La Bonne Nuit matchbook. Kevin has with him programs from his musicals and a pair of Josie’s cat ears. Cheryl buries her HBIC shirt while Toni gets rid of her Pretty Poisons jacket. Jughead throws in his signature knitted beanie, and lastly, Archie parts ways with a guitar pick and a hammer from his dad’s toolbox. The gang then proceeds to bury the time capsule.
Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica stay behind to get drunk on the bleachers, where they make a vow to return to Riverdale one year from now to meet back up at Pop’s. Archie then reveals that he’s enlisted in the army, much to Veronica’s dismay. Archie has to leave for basic training in the morning. He can get his degree without having to repeat senior year and he’d be set up for college. For the first time in a long time, Archie doesn’t feel scared or uncertain about his future. Veronica fears that he’ll die at war and refuses to indulge him any further.
Cheryl reveals to Toni that she’s no longer going to Highsmith. It no longer feels right, however, she still wants Toni to go. Cheryl must stay behind and redeem her family, as the Blossom family name conjures a horror show. Now that she has control of the maple factory, she has a chance to lift up the town and take back the Blossom family legacy. Toni questions if Cheryl's sudden need for redemption stems from her encounter with Nana Topaz. Toni tells Cheryl that she need not worry, as her nana is starting to come around to the thought of them being together. As tears run down her face, Cheryl tells Toni that she doesn’t want to force her girlfriend to choose between her and family. And perhaps if Cheryl's successful, one day, Toni won’t have to choose because they could be together with their full blessing. But in the meantime, Cheryl breaks up with Toni.
Betty and Jughead return home, where Jughead notes that Archie and Veronica have been acting off since prom. Betty comes to the realization that Archie must've confessed and reveals to Jughead that she and Archie kissed during Hedwig. She presumes that Archie must’ve told Veronica, which would explain why they’ve been acting so odd. Betty apologizes, which Jughead appears to accept, as the two proceed to have sex. The following day, Jughead gets dressed and ready to take Archie to the bus stop. Before leaving, he tells Betty that he wants to talk about their relationship when he returns home.
Jughead knocks on the Archie's door. Before leaving, Archie says goodbye to Vegas, as well as his mother. Mary gives him a hug and sees the boys off.
Betty heads over to the Pembrooke, where she apologizes to Veronica for kissing Archie. Veronica says that she’s not mad at Betty because she’s too upset. The two girls embrace as tears run down their faces.
While waiting for the bus, just as Archie is about to tell Jughead about his kiss with Betty, Jughead reveals that he already knows and that it’s okay. He's certain that they didn’t do it to hurt him or Veronica. Also reasoning that a little high school angst might be good for them.
Betty blames herself for Archie and Veronica’s breakup. Veronica assures Betty that it’s not her fault. She’s simply upset at how it’s all ending: so sudden and unresolved. Veronica wishes she had said goodbye to Archie and hugged him one last time. So, Betty proposes they do just that. Betty and Veronica pull up to the bus stop to find Jughead sitting alone. He reveals that the bus left not too long ago and hops inside the jalopy in hopes of catching up with Archie, who while sitting on the bus, recounts the best and worst moments of his life. He then looks out the window to see Betty, Jughead, and Veronica waiving. Archie rushes to the front of the bus and asks the driver to pull the bus over. Archie exits and gives Veronica one last hug and tells her that he loves her. He also hugs Betty and Jughead before parting ways.
With Archie gone, the glue that held their group together began to dissolve. Veronica was first to go. She decided to spend the summer with her mom and Andy Cohen in the Hamptons. As for Betty and Jughead, their relationship had taken a turn for the worse. They didn’t talk about her and Archie or the distance growing between them. Not even when Betty announced that she was leaving early for New Haven. Before leaving, Betty and Jughead express that they’ll always love each other, but for the time being, they’ll spend some time apart. Betty will focus on Yale while Jughead focuses on Iowa. After Betty and Alice left, it no longer felt right for Jughead to live at the Coopers. So, he moved into Archie’s house, which was empty for the time being, waiting to be sold. After the electricity and gas was shut off, Jughead sought refuge in the bunker. He stayed there until August, when it was finally time for him to leave for college. Before leaving Riverdale, Jughead stopped by Pop’s for one last burger. Pop Tate told Jughead that he'd miss seeing him every day. Jughead replied that he’d miss him too.
One year later, Jughead returns to Pop’s, honoring the vow he made with his friends to return once a year, every year. However, neither Archie, Betty, nor Veronica ever show up. Pop Tate reasons that they were probably just busy. It would be six years before Jughead saw his friends again. Brought together by another crisis and mystery.
- Riverdale Cast feat. KJ Apa - Good Riddance
- Scene: Archie writes graduation song. / The senior class graduates.
- Klergy & Mindy Jones - Will You Follow Me Into the Dark
- Scene: Archie leaves Riverdale for basic training.
- This episode was initially titled "Riverdale Reverie" and was intended to air during the fourth season as episode 22, the season finale. However, production was shut down indefinitely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 
- Betty reads Thomas Harris' 1981 novel Red Dragon.
- Jughead reads Frank Herbert's 1965 novel Dune.
- The time capsule from 1945 contains several references to the Archie Comics:
- A copy of the Red Circle comics, a darker imprint of Archie's superhero line.
- Ambrose Pipps, described as "hometown hero", is a character from the Little Archie comics.
- The soldiers in the photograph are a nod to the plot of Archie 1941, and also foreshadowing some of the themes from the next episode.
- February 2021 - Network Prelims, Finals and Cable Numbers Posted - SpoilerTV
- Episode Title - RobertoAguirreSacasa (@WriterRAS) - Twitter
- Riverdale Spoilers: “Chapter Seventy-Nine: Graduation”- KSitveTV
- Riverdale Shuts Down Production on Season 4 After 'Team Member' Comes in Contact With Coronavirus Patient - TV line
- ‘Riverdale’ Season 5: Premiere Date, Episode Titles, Cast and More - Decider